'This Week' Transcript: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

PELOSI: Well, let's grade this all on a curve. What really matters is, what we do and how it relates to the lives of the American people back to that kitchen table where they have to think about how they make ends meet and how they make the future better for their children and provide for their own retirement. That's really where the grade goes. And the grade is given on election day. We -- we're fully prepared to face the American people with the integrity of what we have put forth, the commitment to jobs and health care and education and a world at peace and safe for our children and with the political armed power to go with it to win those elections.

VARGAS: Madam Speaker, thank you for joining us.

PELOSI: My pleasure.


VARGAS: And we are joined now by the Republican point man at the health care summit, Senator Lamar Alexander.

Senator, welcome to "This Week."

ALEXANDER: Thank you, Elizabeth.

VARGAS: You just said heard Speaker Pelosi and President Obama say time is up, we're not scrapping the plan, we're not starting from scratch, this is it. Are you going to -- are the Republicans going to offer some amendments (inaudible)

ALEXANDER: We -- we already have. I mean, we spent seven hours on Thursday, which I thought was a great opportunity for us to say why we thought the president's bill is not a good bill and what we think we ought to do, which is to establish a goal of reducing costs and go step by step toward that goal. And we offered a number of good ideas, some of which the president agreed with, and he'll put his bill aside and renounce jamming the bill through. We can go to work on this the way we normally do in the United States Senate, which is in a bipartisan way.

VARGAS: But he has said he's not going to scrap the bill, he's moving forward with or without you. So why not be part of the process? Why not take what you consider to be an imperfect bill and at least attach some proposals that you support?

ALEXANDER: Well, this is a...


ALEXANDER: This is a car that can't be recalled and fixed. There are too many things wrong with it. It cuts Medicare a half-trillion dollars. It raises taxes a half-trillion dollars. And in the Medicare cuts, the point that didn't get made very much on Thursday, it doesn't cut it to help Medicare. It cuts Medicare to spend on a new program at a time when Medicare is going broke in 2015.

It raises insurance premiums. The president and I had a little exchange on that. It shifts big costs to states, which are going to drive up college tuitions and state taxes. As a former governor, I've heard from Democratic and Republican governors on this. It dumps 15 million low-income Americans into a failed government program called Medicaid. Fifty percent of doctors won't even see patients in Medicaid.

So you can't fix that unless they take all those things out. And if they did, they wouldn't have a bill.

VARGAS: You had said in your opening remarks at the health care summit, you quoted Senator Byrd when you said -- you called on the president to renounce using reconciliation to push the bill through the Senate with a simple majority vote, saying, quote, "It would be an outrage to run the health care bill through the Senate like a freight train with this process."

Why -- why are you so opposed to this, given the fact that Republicans have used reconciliation more often than Democrats in the past?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...